What’s Unique About Gabbeh Rugs – The History of this Persian Rug and How They’re Made

Tuesday May 2, 2017 By World of Rugs

What is a “Gabbeh” rug? Gabbeh (sometimes spelled “gabba”) rugs are a traditional Persian rug that are widely known for their geometric stylings and narrative/storytelling elements. The Farsi translation for “Gabbeh” (the official language of Persia) is something raw, natural, or uncut.

Characteristics of Gabbeh Rugs

Gabbeh rugs are generally thicker than many other Persian rugs, as thick as one inch in height. They are made up of natural and handspun wool yarn that is colored using plant dyes. You can spot a Gabbeh rug based on their coarse weaves, various geometric zones of color, and imagery depicting stories and landscapes.

Types of Gabbeh Rugs

There are several different sub-types of Gabbeh rugs. These include:

  • Basic – Basic Gabbeh rugs are simple in design and feature bolder colors
  • Amalehbaft – A Gabbeh rug with a tighter weave and an even more simple design style than Basic Gabbeh Rugs
  • Kashkoli – Short and soft piles with a tight weave and a higher knot density that can create a beautiful sheen
  • Luribaft – Luribaft rugs are known for their sophisticated and intricate designs
  • Baluch – Gabbeh rugs that are flat woven that often feature tribal designs
  • Sumak – Flat woven Gabbeh rugs known for their rich color and amount of detail

Construction of Gabbeh Rugs

Gabbeh rugs are handwoven wool pile rugs from the Zagros mountain range of Iran. The designs often contain rectangular patterns that enclose an image of an animal. These rugs are relatively easier to produce than other styles of Persian rugs, and thus can be more affordable in some instances. The simplicity of the designs and the smaller number of knots found in these rugs allows for these rugs to be produced more quickly. Keep in mind that Gabbeh rugs have grown so much in popularity that imitations and knockoffs have become pervasive. These rugs are often of inferior quality, not as soft, use chemical dyes, and can wear out quickly.

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